French four classes take Christmas celebration virtual: Buche de Noel decorating over internet

Lilli Greco, Copy Editor

 The holidays came and went without the usual fuss this year, but students and classes still found a way to get in the festive spirit. This year, French four classes made and decorated Buche de Noel cakes to share and show off virtually. “In previous years, we were able to make our cakes with a partner, but obviously not this year.” Elena Schell, senior and president of the French club, says.

     What is a Buche de Noel? Believe it or not, you most likely already know. “So the Buche de Noel is a traditional “log cake” that’s supposed to represent the “Yule Log” and is eaten at Christmas Eve dinner in most French families.  It can resemble a real log or be decorated really creatively.” Says Madame Arist, the french teacher and organizer of this event. 

      A Yule Log (or Buche de Noel) is a traditional Christmas cake usually served in France, Belgium and Sweden, as well as other former French colonies like Canada and Vietnam. The cake is characterised by its log shape and is made by rolling a chocolate cake and whipped cream into a cylinder and then decorating (usually log themed decorations or a sprinkling of powdered sugar for snow). 

     The Buche de Noel is a representation of the real Yule Log of old – a Christmas tradition where a log was kept burning for the twelve days of Christmas. The cake is a callback to the old tradition as well as a traditional desert for the holiday. 

     Of course, not all the students were able to make a fully fledged Buche de Noel. “All my French classes made their own mini buche de Noel during class time the day before Christmas break using a “Swiss Roll” cake or anything else they had at home.” Arist says. The assignment was for extra credit though, as some students may not have been able to participate. 

     “A few students made the full cake and decorated it.  The plain one at the top [the first picture] was made by Jacob Sack, freshman and the one with little critters on it was made by sophomore Genevieve Sudbrink.  Other students made them too.” Arist says. 

     Schell describes the process of making a Buche de Noel. “Generally, you need egg whites for the meringue so it’s fluffy and not dense – it shouldn’t be that cakey.” A Buche de Noel is a very light desert. The ingredients are cream of tartar, sugar, cocoa powder and of course the eggs. “It’s very important not to overbeat it [the batter]. If you beat it too much, it’ll deflate.”

     As for the taste, Schell said this, “It’s airy, yet rich.”